UCLA Bruins at Stanford Cardinal Betting Pick

The Pac-12, despite its recent omissions from the College Football Playoff, has started off 2021 on a hot streak. Oregon has arguably the biggest win of the year at Ohio State, but other teams in the conference have also had marquee wins. UCLA toppled LSU in a Week 1 bout where the Bruins looked like the bully over the SEC Tigers.

Stanford dropped their opener in AT&T Stadium in Dallas against Kansas State, but the Cardinal won a big conference opener against USC the following week, which led to the Trojans firing Clay Helton.

A quick look at the betting odds suggests that UCLA Bruins are coming into the match as the favorites.

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UCLA Bruins Team Preview

Chip Kelly’s squad got an early start in an impressive win against Hawaii in Week 0 to start the college football season. The Bruins looked like a completely transformed team compared to Kelly’s previous seasons as the head coach. The defense was flying around and creating havoc while the running game was punishing for four quarters led by Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet. 

As mentioned above, the Bruins’ second game was a primetime matchup against LSU in the Rose Bowl that the Bruins took advantage of an opportunity to make a statement. UCLA dominated in the trenches, something that SEC teams are not accustomed to experiencing against Pac-12 foes. Unfortunately, the Bruins followed up the win against LSU with a post-bye week loss to Fresno State in Week 3. 

The bookies haven’t seemed to be able to get a beat on the Bruins so far this season as they are 2-1 against the spread and have played outside of the spread by double digits in each of the three games. In terms of total points, the Bruins betting line has been listed in the 60’s in each of their first three games, and the over has hit in the two most recent games. 

Stanford Cardinal Team Preview

Stanford came into the year with a bleak outlook, according to the sportsbooks. Most of the major oddsmakers had the Cardinal win total betting line set at four wins for the entire season. Part of this was in part to David Shaw’s team playing the first-ever all Power Five conference schedule, including non-conference games. The nine-game conference slate is accompanied by games against Kansas State, Vanderbilt, and Notre Dame. 

The Week 1 loss against Kansas State was a good indicator of why the sportsbooks set such a low win total on the Stanford season. Quarterback Jack West started for the offense and produced very little. Since then, Tanner McKee has come in and provided a jolt to the offense as Stanford has now scored over 40 points in back-to-back games. 

Week 2’s win over USC really derailed the high prospects the Trojans had for their season and, in turn, cost their head coach his job. Stanford was a three-score underdog on the road and was able to top the Trojans by a score of 42-28. The following week brought a road win over a struggling Vanderbilt team, but the Cardinal looked like a quality football team in the process. 

Betting Preview

BetUS and Bovada currently have the betting line set at -4.5, favoring the road Bruins with an over/under total points sitting at 58.5 points on both as well. This marks the first time the Bruins haven’t had a total points spread set in the 60’s and the highest mark the Cardinal have seen in their first four games. 

Statistically, this game favors the Bruins as they rank as the fourth-best rushing attack in the conference, matching up against Stanford’s league-worst rushing defense. While the Bruins are great at stopping the run, Tanner McKee could find success in the passing game as UCLA has the worst passing defense in the league. 

Expect this game to hit the over as each offense should find success doing what they do best. As for the point spread, UCLA should be able to run the ball and control the clock, and a turnover or two could put this game away. Take the Bruins -4.5.

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